CLEVELAND — As subfreezing temperatures continue to linger throughout Northeast Ohio, a warm-weather escape has come into focus for Indians fans.
On Friday morning, at the snowy corner of Carnegie and Ontario, Indians personnel loaded up the last of the equipment trucks bound for spring training in Goodyear, Ariz.
The trucks will drive more than 2,000 miles to the Tribe’s sunny spring training site, where they’ll remain for nearly seven weeks.
Assistant Clubhouse Manager Marty Bokovitz, who helps oversee the packing and loading of the trucks, says everything from baseballs and bats, to pallets of water, will make the trek from Cleveland.
"Each player has about two dozen bats and half of those are sent from Cleveland. We send all of our player (uniform) sets of jerseys and pants from here. We have those pre-packaged and ready to go so all we have to do is hang them in the lockers."
As far as non-baseball gear goes, manager Terry Francona’s scooter will be carefully transported by the equipment trucks, along with an entire pallet of bubblegum and candy.
Photos: Indians' equipment trucks leave for spring training
Bokovitz says the trip will take four days, arriving in Goodyear on Tuesday afternoon and unloaded at 6am on Wednesday.
Pitchers and catchers will report to the complex on Feb. 11, and hold their first workout two days later. The deadline day for position players to report is Feb. 15, with the first full-squad workout scheduled for Feb. 17.
Hearing the phrase "pitchers and catchers report" is always music to any baseball fan’s ears, and the equipment truck send-off has become the unofficial start to the season.
"It signifies spring," said Bokovitz of "Truck Day", which has become a pseudo-holiday for many Clevelanders. "It means spring is here — or it’s not far off. It’s nice, especially after last week."
"Spring Training Truck Day" is more symbolic than anything. But on a day where baseball season seems like a world away from sputtering car batteries and sub-zero wind chills, it’s the perfect time for that symbol to come.